Wednesday, January 04, 2017



Joseph Wechsberg (1907-1983), Blue Trout and Black Truffles: The Peregrinations of an Epicure (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1966), pp. 87-88:
In the happier prewar days, when food and drink were far more important to the citizens of Prague than the speeches of their political leaders, the social standing of a man was often determined by the sausage shop he patronized and the kind of hot sausage he ate there. A sausage eater never switched allegiance.

There were two main varieties of hot sausage: the lean ones, either short or long, called párky, which looked somewhat like frankfurters and wieners and always came in pairs; and the fat, short ones, called either vuršty (woorshty, after the German word Wurst), klobásy, or taliány, which were sold in strings, like pearls. Taliány ("Italians") were white and very fat, larded with pieces of bacon and garlic. Klobásy were somewhat bigger, fatter even, and thick-skinned.

The most popular hot sausages of all were the vuršty. They were juicy and less fattish, the feminine species of the hot-sausage family and were mostly eaten by men. Vuršty were two and three-quarters inches long; you ate them with the skin. To leave the thin skin of a vuršta on the plate was like putting water into vintage wine in a Burgundy wine cellar. The quality of the vuršty was tested by sticking in the fork. If the vuršty were fresh and properly made, the juice would spout into the eater's face. Vuršty-eaters recognized one another by the fat-stains on their ties and lapels. They wore them proudly, like campaign ribbons.

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